Shark Bait Oh-Ah Ah…

If the title is any indication on what this blog post is about to tell you, full disclosure…nothing bad happened 🙂

Well maybe one bad thing happened and it started at the very beginning of our trip. We had to wake up at 4:50am! I know right?! It was such a struggle – to wake up on holiday THAT early! But most of us slept most of the way there, which was a 2.5 hour drive to Pacific Harbour. It didn’t take any time at all to get checked in, what did take a while was to get the shop open! This was quite entertaining (because we’ve all done it) the night before our big shark day was Daylight Savings, and there are only 2 keys to the door…the one with the lady who was late to work and a hammer! When the lady arrived you could tell how embarrassed she was late because of, what she called “stupid Daylight savings”, but since we are all on Fiji time (except when getting in the taxi for us) it didn’t matter for us – we were going diving!

We had a quick safety brief about our depths, what we will see, how to keep calm around the sharks, the other kinds of marine life we will see, our time at our deepest depth, ect…

And then it was time! Boat engine kicked on, we loaded up and away we went! It took us about 25 minutes or so to get to the dive site. The choppy seas throwing us about made me thankful I hadn’t geared up yet. The sound of the flat bottom boat smashing against the waves reminded me of my last deployment, sitting in my office as 9 foot swells crashed against the bottom of the boat nearly deafening me while I worked in my office at the forward part of the ship.20151002_130955.jpg

We were a few minutes out from the buoy when our dive master told us to gear up, once we got tied to the buoy it was “go time”. We were quickly told to no “dilly dally” on the surface since the waves were so choppy but to submerge as soon as we hit the water. I sat to put my fins on and thought “this is it”! I was excited and nervous at the same time. I love going scuba diving but descending is my least favorite part and knowing that sharks circled below me, added an extra layer of anxiety for me to say the least.

Finally, it was time…I put my regulator in my mouth, took my first breath of air, took one big step…SPLASH! I was in the water again!

It only took a few minutes to descend to the bottom where we would be hanging out with the sharks. I thought it was so interesting how the conservation had the sea floor laid out for the safety of viewers. It was almost like being in trenches during WWI, they had a coral wall built up for us to kneel or lay behind because during our briefing they told us to make sure we keep low – especially while they were being fed. 20151002_125439.jpg

We settled down behind the coral wall and waited. They brought two rubbish bins full of fish chum to feed the sharks and if you looked up to the anchor line where the bins were tied there was SWARMS of fish! Different schools circling around hoping to get some of the leftovers that fall out of the shark’s mouth as they chomp down.

Just off in the haze you could see the shadowy figure of the sharks. Moving slowly through the haze closer towards the smell of food. I could feel my breathe slowing just in case the bubbles would draw attention, course this is counter-intuitive to the whole purpose behind scuba diving but it is was human nature.20151002_130208.jpg

We had two dives among the sharks, wrecks and reefs. Each time we passed over the reed as we slowly ascended to the surface we saw new marine life. Amongst the massive amounts of fish swimming in and out of the coral we also saw several sting rays flying on the ocean floor, but my favorite is when we saw and GOT TO PET a Moray eel! That was more nerve racking then swimming with sharks. I wasn’t expecting the texture of the eel to feel so weird! It was like a wet sponge covered in sea moss.

And of my dozen or so dives around the world these two were the best! It might have been a five hour transit time, early morning and a bit spendy but nothing – NOTHING about that dive was a waste.

More Fijian Adventures to come!

Traveling Photographer Out!

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